Islam and the Arab Awakening

By Tariq Ramadan | Go to book overview

3
Islam, Islamism, Secularization

THE PURPOSE OF this book is to situate Islam as a religious and ideological reference in the Arab awakening now unfolding, the idea being to analyze its component uprisings in the light of recent history, of their likely causes, and, of course, of their broader political, economic, and geostrategic context. Each one of these dimensions alone would justify full-fledged analysis, something that lies beyond the scope of the present work. My main purpose in these pages is, rather, to gauge what role Islam as a reference will and can play at this critical moment in the evolution of the Arab world.

Irrespective of how the facts are interpreted, it is clear that something has changed in the Middle East, and that the process is irreversible. Countryby-country analysis reveals that debates over the place of Islam in society tend to focus on two main themes: the compatibility of Islam with democratic pluralism and religious diversity and, more specifically, the role of Islamist parties (which are everywhere present) in the societies now liberated from dictatorship. Though these concerns may have seemed absent from the slogans that gave birth to the uprisings and drove them forward, they are omnipresent in the period immediately following the fall of the dictatorial regimes, now that the door to democracy is being opened by the drafting of new constitutions, and by parliamentary and presidential elections.

It is essential to grasp the historical and ideological content of these crucial questions if the role of Islam in the mass revolts is to be given its proper place.


Islam and Islamism

Many of the intellectuals and researchers who have studied the Muslim majority societies have spoken of “Islams” to underscore the diversity of religious

-67-

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Islam and the Arab Awakening
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Made- To - Order Uprisings? 6
  • 2 - Cautious Optimism 23
  • 3 - Islam, Islamism, Secularization 67
  • 4 - The Islamic Reference 96
  • Conclusion 141
  • Acknowledgments 145
  • Appendices 147
  • Notes 213
  • Index 237
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